So why is New York City called The Big Apple?

by Denise Marie

As one of the greatest cities in the world, New York City has several interesting nicknames. Have you ever wondered why this metropolis is known as The Big Apple? The story behind it is surprising. This term was first used in the 1920’s by a sports journalist who worked for the New York Morning Telegraph. Since then, the phrase Big Apple has worked its way into mainstream culture on a global scale.

History and Facts

John J. Fitz Gerald was a sports columnist for the New York Morning Telegraph during the early 20th century. He first used the phrase Big Apple to describe the significance of New York City for horse racing. It’s widely believed that Fitz Gerald actually got the idea from African-American workers who cared for thoroughbred horses in stables. In the context of the 1920’s and racing, these workers most likely referred to any major city as the Big Apple.

This nickname for New York City was heavily promoted during the 1970’s as part of a marketing plan. Once bustling with activity, Midtown Manhattan fell into unrecognizable decline after World War II. Politicians and citizens of this great city had big plans to restore the glamour and glory of NYC.

The Big Apple was heavily incorporated into visual advertisements that appeared on billboards, plaques and other signs throughout the streets. Clothing, apparel, souvenirs and other items were also marked with The Big Apple logo. Today, it’s quite evident that the innovative marketing campaign has boomed business in Times Square and many other districts in Manhattan and other boroughs.

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The Big Apple Comes to Life in the Streets

If you’d like to see symbols of The Big Apple come to life, head to Citi Field in Queens. The stadium of the New York Mets proudly presents the historic Home Run Apple, which used to pop up during the games. Today, you can take some cool selfies near this large artifact that solidifies the city’s nickname as The Big Apple.

The waterfront promenades of Manhattan’s West Village lead to the Apple, which is a bronze installation with a height of 9 feet. The base of this giant apple includes benches that may be used by the general public. As you walk the famous Broadway in Times Square, you might notice the Big Apple Corner on W 54th Street. In fact, Fitz Gerald lived most of his life on this street in the heart of Midtown Manhattan.

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